Jayhawks Ready for Sunflower Showdown
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head football coach David Beaty met with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss the annual Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons against in-state rival Kansas State.
Prior to the 3 p.m. kickoff on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, Nov. 28, KU will honor its 21 seniors as it looks to end the 2015 campaign on a high note. Kansas (0-11, 0-8 Big 12) leads the all-time series against the Wildcats (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) 65-41-5, but hasn’t won a game against K-State since 2008. First-year KU head coaches hold a 21-10 mark against Kansas State with some of those names who claimed a victory in their first try being Glen Mason, Mike Gottfried and Don Fambrough.
HEAD COACH DAVID BEATY: Thank you for coming again today. Appreciate it. Man, I tell you what. What a great day we are celebrating. We would be remiss if we didn’t start off with Bob Davis and the career he has had here.
I will say this: It’s been an absolute honor for me to be able to sit alongside him. You kind of have to pinch yourself, because there are people that work in this profession that have been in places for as long as he has, and when you are sitting next to him, you kind of take pause because you realize what he means to a university like KU and the people of this state.
Just that voice. I know all of us have been in a car and you turn on that radio and his voice comes ringing through and it’s just such a familiar voice. Man, what a great career he’s had. There are some things I want to make sure I cover, so I wrote them down. We don’t want to miss anything that had to do with Bob.
He joined Jayhawk Radio Network back in 1984, 32 years ago. I think I was 14 at the time when he started. Six bowl games during that tenure; he was 5-1 in bowl games, which is good.
He worked for ten different head coaches, man, so he’s been around. He’s seen every one of us come through here. His first football game was a home game against Wichita State, a Kansas team, 31-7 win at Memorial Stadium September 8, 1984.
Saturday versus Kansas State will be his 373rd football game at Kansas, which is remarkable.
He’s ending it with KU playing another Kansas school, so started with a Kansas school and ending with another Kansas school. Great way for him to finish his career. He is a 13-time winner of the Kansas Sportscaster of the Year Award, a member of the Kansas Association of Broadcaster Hall of Fame, inducted in 2006. Some of these things I didn’t even know.
He is a member of the Fort Hays State University Hall of Fame; two-time winner of the Oscar Stauffer Award for excellence in high school sports; eight Final Fours with KU, two titles, 1988 and 2008 of course, and three other championship games.
You know, one of the things that Katy and I were talking about this morning is his son Steven is a KU grad, as you all probably all know, and he’s following in his dad’s footsteps as a broadcaster. I can’t think of a bigger compliment as a parent than to have your child want to follow in your footsteps. I think that’s a pretty cool deal for him and his family.
His wife (Linda), just as precious as she can be, and she’s been right alongside him the entire way. I know they’re looking forward to some good family time together, and I just want to wish him the best. He is a superstar. I wish he was here with us tonight for our final Hawk Talk. He’s not, but he’s going to call in.
Man, what a great day for him, great day for his family. But he is certainly going to be missed. College football is a better place with him in it for sure. So congratulations, Bob.
Let’s go ahead and get started with some questions.
Q. Talk about the Kansas State offense and kind of their skills players and what you’ll have to do to slow them down and have a chance this weekend?
COACH BEATY: Well, I think the thing that stands out to me is the resiliency of them and the away they create. They create points and find a way to manufacture points. They’ve done that all year. I mean, they’ll get in tight sets and run the football at you, spread you out, and get in some things that you don’t really see those guy get into very much.
They’ve been in some spread sets this year. They actually won a game, a really big game, in a spread set that I’m like, Wow, man. I mean, that’s not something you’re used to seeing with Kansas State. But they still do a great job running the quarterback. I think we’ve got do a good job of making sure we’re gap sound. We get enough people in gaps to be able to stop that quarterback run. Their running backs are good players.
I think Kody Cook has been a really good player for them this year. I don’t know that he gets talked about enough with him doing so many things, kind of the do-it-all role. He’s a really good player.
Plus they’re a very senior strong offensive line. I was just talking with Katy. It seems like Cody Whitehair has been there since I was here the first time. I mean, he’s been here for a long time. He’s had a great career.
But I think there are four seniors across that offensive front. Those guys do a really good job moving the defensive line forward. We’ve got to do a better job of holding gaps this week than we did last week, because we’re going to see another good offensive line this week.
Q. (Regarding the term “spy.”) Is that something that’s done often? Is it usually a linebacker who is doing it?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, it’s a commonly used technique defensively. The first time I saw it I saw Ole Miss doing do is against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. It wasn’t all that successful the first year; the second year they got some leverage out of it, some mileage out of it.
We’ve used some of that throughout the year already this year, and usually it’s a linebacker, bigger safety guy that you can use that can hold up and run game.
But it’s something that you commonly try to use to try to get an extra body in gaps, particularly when you’re trying to account for a guy that most defenses — it’s hard to account for the quarterback sometimes in the run game.
You’re trying to find a way to manufacture that extra player so they don’t get a gap up on you.
Q. Is what Kansas State does with their walk-on program something you have tried to replicate?
COACH BEATY: Well, most of it, from the very beginning, if I were to be completely transparent was we had to fill the team. We only had so many scholarships to give, and that’s where you’re at.
So in order to fill the team and be able to practice efficiently, you got to be able to add the proper number of players. By that virtue, guys benefit from that. But it was part of our plan from the day that we came in here.
I said it. I remember the day. I sat here in front of this podium and said that we want to develop a Kansas identity, and we got to do that one player at time. And there are more than 25 guys in this state that want to play at their university.
We’ve said that we’re going to uncover and turn over rocks in every place we can to find guys that we think can help us win at this level. We just looked on another one yesterday that we didn’t really know a whole lot about that hopefully we can maybe vie for his services in a way.
Those guys, it’s been very talked about in the media about how well they’ve done with their walk-on program, and I got to take my hat off to them. They have. They have had some guys that have been a big part of their program coming from a walk-on spot.
We’ve got some guys that are doing some very similar things right now. (Ryan) Schadler is doing some things like that. We’ve got Michael Glatczak doing some good things for us. There are a lot guys. (Cameron) Rosser was a walk-on for us.
There are a lot guys playing for us right now that are walk-ons helping our football team. So it’s a great opportunity for guys that want to play at their state university, want to play at their school. There is a way to do it even if you don’t get a scholarship right off the. You can come earn it.
Q. I think you guys went into every high school in the state in the spring. When you did that, did you learn anything you didn’t already know?
COACH BEATY: I think the number one thing we learned was not every school plays football. We went into a lot of schools that don’t even play football, which was good, and I think they really appreciated that.
But the number one thing we learned is how important the University of Kansas is to the high schools in this state. As you walk into those schools, they are elated that you’re there and representing this university. Being there and us being consistent with it I think is going to be the big think for us moving forward.
If we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do, we got to be consistent with that. So all 420 some odd school, we’re going knock on the doors again and start and end every recruiting cycle with our state. It’s really kind of the plan we’ve set forth, and we’re going to continue to do that and try to gain one player at a time.
In order to get one of the top players in the state, you got to start with one. Keep working until we get them to want to stay here, and then we’ll get two and then we’ll get three. But you got to start with one.
Q. To accomplish what he has at Kansas State, Bill Snyder obviously is good in all areas, but is it just his offensive genius that sets him apart?
COACH BEATY: You know, that’s a great question, because there is so much about him that has been so successful in this game. That is absolutely unparalleled. There is no doubt about that. There has always been offensive production under him.
I think the thing that doesn’t get talked about enough is how smart that football team is. You very rarely see those guys beat themselves. You got to beat K-State when you play them because of Bill Snyder and his philosophy that he has adopted there. They are a very disciplined unit. You said buttoned up.
He is just an attention-to-detail guy, and all of us are still — all of us coaches in this country — are still learning from our predecessors, and he is certainly one of finest examples in all of college football.
I’ve it said before. That job he’s done there, I don’t know how you can say there has been a better job done. I just don’t know how. I can’t justify it. He has done a phenomenal job at that university. I think he’s, without saying, he’s one of the best coaches that’s ever coached this game.
Q. When you were hired with such a young team, what did you ask of your seniors? And secondly, what has this senior class meant to you in your first year here?
COACH BEATY: They have meant the world to us, and they really have. And they have done everything we’ve asked them to do. The first thing we asked them to do was just to give us everything they got. Everything they got.
In return, we made sure that they understood that they matter, that they cared.
You know, we had a meeting this morning. I was talking with one of our coaches who experienced a coaching change around his junior year, and talked about his experience when that coaching change occurred and how unfortunate it was.
Our guys have experienced a couple of coaching changes, particularly these seniors. But this one in particular didn’t have to be that away. When we came in here, we made the commitment to these guys to make them understand that they deserve to have the absolute best experience that they possibly could have. And if they would trust us and buy into it, that they would have more fun than they’ve had playing football. And that the byproduct would be success as you walk down the stage, walk off the stage as is graduate, and we’ll never let you be forgotten.
We made that commitment to those guys, and, man, they have been off the chart good. They really have. They have been phenomenal and they have been really good with helping us set our culture with this young team. Without them, we would not be where we are right now. I know to some that doesn’t look like it’s where some people would absolutely want it. It’s not necessarily where I would want it either from a results standpoint.
But I’ll tell you this: Those guys have done so much to help us move this program forward from where it was when we first got here. I just can’t take my hat off to them more than I do. They’ve been phenomenal. Yesterday we go out to practice and those boys are bringing energy and it’s fun to have those guys around.
I wish I had them all for four more years, every one of them.
Q. Anything different about this week being rivalry week? Prepare any differently?
COACH BEATY: We prepare basically the same, but this is a different week. I mean, this is a rivalry week. This is K-State week for us. There is a lot at stake here. There are a lot of people in this state that are going to be closely watching this game.
I’ve said it before: I think it’s one of those deals where whether your 10-0 or 0-11, when you come in, man, it’s a rivalry game and everything else needs to go to the wayside. We get to go out there on Saturday and we get to have a good ole backyard brawl. Going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to do it.
Honored to play against one of my coaching heroes. But this deal isn’t about me or him. It’s about our universities. It’s important to the Jayhawks that we go out there and play our tails off Saturday, represent them well, and we go out there and win this football game.
Q. What does the rivalry mean to you?
COACH BEATY: The rivalry for me goes deep because of my love for this state and the people of this state. I think as I looked at it this week, the thing that really stands out to me is football is important in the state of Kansas. It’s very important to Jayhawks and K-Staters alike.
So from our standpoint, I’m just thrilled and honored to be a part of such a rivalry. I really am. But you got to go out there and win those rivalries and be competitive and go out there and compete and put a good product on the field.
So my job and our job is to make sure that we’ve got our guys are as prepared as we can possibly have them when they walk out there on Saturday, and for them to understand the history that is this rivalry.
Not just the record that it sits at right now, but the recent history, the history that dates back several decades ago, the people have come before them, and what it’s meant to them.
We have several coaches on our staff that have played in this game, and each day one of those coaches is giving a history lesson of what it meant for them to playing in this game.
We started with Coach Bowen yesterday, and he was phenomenal. We’ll go today to Coach Kane, and then Coach Mitchell who has coached in it for a number of years, and we have got three GAs and Quality Control guys that are going to speak to our team today.
Man, it’s exciting to be a part of it.
Q. How much interaction have you had with Bill Snyder through the years? Have you ever had a chance to kind of pick his brain?
COACH BEATY: I have not had a whole lot of interaction with him to this point other than just since I’ve been here at KU. Every time we have a coaching convention we’re usually together or if we’re at event together. Man, I’ll tell, he’s been the classy gentlemen that we all know. He has been very helpful and very encouraging.
The thing that I love about Coach is he loves the state of Kansas. He does. And he wants these programs to be good. He really does. He’s done a tremendous job at his place. He’s been very helpful to me. Any time I’ve asked for anything he’s always been right there to help.
Q. As tough as it is to do this, are you amazed that Coach Snyder is still able to do this?
COACH BEATY: I tell you what, he’s amazing. He is amazing. For a guy to have the energy that he has to be doing it as long as he has is — he is, he’s a unique individual.
I don’t know there are many guys like him on the face of this planet. I mean, he is that special at what he does. I hope I can make it that long. I’ll tell you this: Not many people have. Not many people have. He is special.
Q. Did you think when you took over here last December it would be this difficult? Or the possibility of going 0-12 existed?
COACH BEATY: You know, I knew this was going to be a challenge. We never looked at it as difficult. We knew it was going to on a challenge. We knew that our results were going to be a direct proportion of how much we were going to be able to put in.
I think we know as a team and as a staff that if we want more we have to continue to give more. There is something else out there for us that we have to give.
The good news is our kids understand that and they continue to push forward. We knew it was going to be a challenge. There is no doubt about that. We knew we were work against some things.
But at the end of the day, that was never going to be a have an excuse. We knew it when we got here, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to be here. We know what is in our future and what our future it looks like. It’s continuing to be just like it was before. One day at a time.
Q. Do you think Fish (Smithson) will be able to play Saturday?
COACH BEATY: I hope so. I hope so. Looked like he moved around pretty good yesterday, which is a good sign. He did not move good last week. We were hopeful he could make it to Saturday and be okay, but it didn’t turn out that way. Moved around pretty good yesterday. I think he’ll be fine.
Q. How can this finale kind of propel the program into the off-season, especially for the underclassmen?
COACH BEATY: Yeah, I mean, number one, our seniors deserve it. Those guys have been here for a long time. They’ve busted their tails, and this is their last opportunity. So what a way to walk out of your college career, being able to lift that Governor’s Cup. Man, that’s a big deal.
And then for our guys, obviously moving forward, regardless of what happened in front, this game right here, if we take care of business in this game, it propels us I think as we head into an off-season that’s going to be very pivotal for us moving forward.
Can do nothing but help us moving forward. It’s so important in that regard. Our young guys, giving them the understanding of how valuable this series is to them and really the education they’re getting right now on what this series is, this rivalry, man, it’s going to be a great opportunity.
We really need this win in a lot ways. More than just because of our results previous, we need it because we need that Governor’s Cup back home.
Q. Ben Goodman mentioned the dream you told him about. After last Saturday, have you had any more dreams about your players getting into the end zone or doing good things for this upcoming game?
COACH BEATY: I haven’t yet. I haven’t slept a lot. It’s kind of been a roll over and get back up. That’s college football. We love doing that.
But I did have one last week with Ben, and I shared it with him. I hope he gets one. Guy has been around here for a long time. I asked him on the bus the other day, Have you scored a touchdown yet? Because I didn’t look at the stats. He says, No. I got close, but…
So hopefully that dream will come true for him Saturday and we’ll get him in the end zone.
Q. How are you guys looking health-wise for this week?
COACH BEATY: We’re actually in pretty good shape. We’ve got a lot of guys just, like everybody in college football, that they got some nagging injuries they’re going through. But for the most part right now, we really are in pretty good shape coming out of that game the other day.
There is not really anything that sticks out to me other than guys just trying to nurse their way back to being ready to go today and tomorrow in practice. We should be, by all accounts, pretty much at full strength.
Q. How nice was it to have Jordan Shelley-Smith back in the lineup last week?
COACH BEATY: I thought it was huge. It was really big for us. You know, across the offensive line he definitely played the best game for us up front. He came back and gave us some stability.
Obviously there was some rust that he had to knock off after being out for a couple weeks, but we needed him to come back in and play good for us and kind of spell Clyde a little bit, which helped us.
We’ll continue to shuffle that offensive line around until we see if we can get the right mix of people to help us be able to create the offense we need. Sometimes it’s not just play; sometimes it’s personnel and continuing to try the find the right guy at the right spot to help us prevent situations like getting pressure and sacks and get in situations where you actually got guys open.
Thanks, ya’ll. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy it. Enjoy this weather.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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